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A Selection of Poems


Through the Window
of Taj Mahal


Mahmud Kianush

Peacock Feathers


Copyright shall at all times remain vested in the Author. No part of the work shall be used, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the Author's express written consent.

In the so-called "Third World" countries, poets for "similar reasons" may publish a particular work under a pseudonym, relating it to a foreign poet with almost similar social and political circumstances.

Through the Window of Taj Mahal was written and published by Mahmud Kianush in 1972 as the Persian translation of the work of an imaginary Indian contemporary poet called Pradip Uma Shankar.

Although Kianush has expressed his own poetical vision and world view in these poems, he has skilfully used some images which show something of the Indian culture and social conditions.

Kianush himself says that, if "those reasons" were not present at the time, the book would have been published under the title Through the window of Persepolis.

Through the Window of Taj Mahal
In the Garden of Ignorance
Without Memory

Through the Window of Taj Mahal


Lost in amazement,

He was standing in the Palace of History

And through the window of Taj Mahal

He could see the elephants marching

From the Gate of Emerald,

All the way to the coast of Blood.


The redness of blood had made his heart heavy,

And emerald had dazzled his eyes

In such a way that he had forgotten

The Teacher of History:

"O child,

If you fail to understand the past,

You will never know the Future;

Read History!"


And the train of elephants came from the past,

And he, amazed by that glorious game,



Were the Maharajahs good men?"


Frustrated and helpless,

I was standing in front of Numbers;

The numbers I had:

1 wife, 2 shirts, 3 children;

And the numbers I wanted:

1 justice, 6,000,000,000 brothers and sisters,

And 1 window;

And the numbers that frightened me:

Or filled me with hatred,

With nausea,

With anger,



Frustrated and helpless,

I was standing in front of those numbers,

And no comparison was possible.

Stupidly naive,

I was wondering

If for only one day

All the people of the world

Would stop wearing perfume,

Then for how long

The flowers that would not die prematurely

Could scent the air,

And for how long Famine would remain in retreat!


This was my thought when he said:


Were the Maharajahs good men?"

More frustrated, more helpless than before,

From the snake pit of Numbers, I said: "No!",

And he asked:

"Were they great people?"

I said: "No!"

And he asked:

"What then were they?"

I said: "They were only Maharajahs!"

And my son began to laugh and said:

"Maharajahs were only Maharajahs!"

And he was still laughing when,

In a serious tone, I said:

"My dear son,

Go and read your History,

And let me read my Daily Paper!"


I saw him watching the past

Through the window of Taj Mahal

With amazement,

still not remembering

The Teacher of History.


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In the Garden of Ignorance


In all the gardens of Nirvana

I could not find

The slightest sign of Meat blossoms

And Bread leaves.


The branches of Words

Were heavy

With the stone fruits of Illusion.


I returned to the garden of Ignorance

And from the branches of Dust

I picked thorny, sweet fruits.


Their thorns gave pain to my tongue

And their flesh,

With the taste of bread,

Lightened my eyes.


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Without Memory


And again I was thinking:

What should I be?

What should I do?

And What would happen?


A breeze crept in through the window;

I became aware of its presence

By the smell of the blossoms

That had broken my privacy

Like an uninvited guest.


I rose to my feet

And went to the window.

At first my eyes were lost

In the green confusion of the leaves,

And then, by a bird soaring like a star,

They were lifted up

To the blue infinity of the sky:

That boundless mind,

Empty and clear of memory;

It was saying:

"Be what you are;


And it will pass."


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Freedom does not make its nest

In the isolated cries;

Tell the dissidents to grow a tree

Rising as high as the sun,

With branches spreading

All over the earth.


When the night brings fear and loneliness

Into my house,

In your house the sun has just risen;

And your shadow

Is not your enemy any more:

It is a kind fellow-traveller.


Perhaps freedom,

In its wanderings,

Would perch for a short while

On the rootless branch of your cry,

But do not forget the night

Has still its sojourn in my house,

And the sun also

Will not stay in your house forever.



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Copyright© 1998 K. Kianush, Art Arena